Trinity 2 (2013)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
June 9, 2013
Central Passage
Luke 14:16-24

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s face it, we’ve all missed church for less than salutary reasons. In truth, there are very few, if any, good reasons not to come and heed the call of Wisdom, the invitation of the Spirit to eat with God at the Lord’s Table, to receive His blessing and benediction, and to avoid the gathering of the saints. It is the Lord that gathers us. What excuse can we give – even as some have given excuses today – that we cannot come?

On the other hand, though it certainly has application into it, this parable isn’t about the weekly gathering of the Lord’s Church and the excuses people give why they can’t be here. This parable is a warning against those who do not heed the invitation of the Spirit and it is about eternal election.

Everyone is invited. The rich land owner and the cattle owner, as well as the man who can support a wife and family, as well as the poor, the lame, the blind and the crippled. All nations. Everyone descended from Noah’s sons. Everyone is invited. That is God’s desire, that everyone come into His kingdom, so He invites them all to His banquet hall to sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and eat and drink with God.

But the reality is, not everyone will come. Many reject the Lord’s invitation. It doesn’t matter the reason they reject it, the outcome is the same: they will never eat bread in the kingdom of heaven. Only those that are compelled to come in will eat bread in the kingdom of heaven.

The messengers of the Great King went out and compelled people to come in. They went to the highways and byways, where the homeless vagabonds lived; where the blind and lame begged for alms; where the diseased and outcasts lived. And they compelled them to come in. These people couldn’t come themselves. They couldn’t see the way. They didn’t have the legs to walk there. They were diseased and thought themselves the walking dead. They were worthless. Unlike the cattle and land owners; unlike the man who marries, these people had nothing to offer the King, nothing to repay His kindness. No reason in themselves to be invited.

They didn’t seek an invitation. They didn’t ask for one. But they were compelled to come. They were led, picked up, guided, and forced into the banquet hall of the Great King. One can almost hear them muttering and whispering, “What’d we do to get this?” “Why are we being invited? We are worth nothing. We are less than nothing.”

Then there is still room! The Great King sends out his messengers again, “Go and gather more! My banquet hall must be full!” So there are more that are invited and compelled to come. More blind, more lame, more diseased. Even the criminals and social outcasts. A banquet full of undesirables.

But the King desires them.

He prepared His table for them. He sacrificed the Lamb on the cross so they would have the right food to eat. He’s poured His wine and mixed it with grace and mercy and life. And those who are compelled to come, they will come into the kingdom of heaven.

Those who are not compelled will never eat of the banquet. They are no worse than those who are compelled, and to the naked eye, they are far better off. They own cattle and land and marry. They enjoy life and have the fruits of this life. They are the Rich Man of last week’s gospel.

And here is a warning to us who might continually refuse the invitation to come. While this parable isn’t about going to church, it is about the gathering of the Great King. It is about His banquet. Those who make a habit of declining the invitation to come to the house of the Lord to hear His word and receive His blessing are in danger of making the excuse that they cannot come when the final trumpet is sounded. Remember, no sign will be given but the sign of Jonah: which is the resurrection of Jesus and the preaching of repentance in His name. No one will hear the final trumpet and think, “Ah, now I will repent!” For as we heard from the Lord last week, “If they do not believe Moses and the Prophets, neither should they repent even if one should rise from the dead.”

When we are here we are gathered with the Great King and we feast at His banquet. When we are not here – for whatever reason – we are not here. We miss the Lord’s blessing, His benediction. We miss the feast of the His body and blood given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. We miss the faith of our brothers and sisters so that if we are not here they cannot help to carry our burden. Then we are alone.

The Spirit compels us to come. Many things stand in our way, just like blindness or being lame or being undesired and diseased. But the invitation is not conditional. And the compulsion is overpowering so that we say with David: “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord!” The Lord is your keeper; He will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life.

This banquet is spiritual. It’s not invisible or untouchable or unable to be seen, but it is spiritual, that is, it is of the Spirit. And those who are of the Spirit are compelled by Him to come into the Lord’s presence and be blessed by Him. And that is you.

You have been compelled by the Spirit, who is Wisdom, to come today. And since today is the day of salvation, then you have come at the end of days. You needn’t fear tomorrow, whether you will eat or drink or what you will put on, the Lord will provide. This is the day that the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it. Today you feast with God and His Church. Today you are in the company of the blessed. The sacrifice has been slaughtered on the cross and the feast is ready. Your many sins are forgiven and your unbelief has been turned to joy. Today you eat with God and hear His voice and receive His benediction and blessing. Be satisfied. Blessed are you that eat bread in the kingdom of heaven.

+ In Nomine Iesu +